Investing.com - U.S. stocks opened lower on Wednesday, as fears over a potential fallout from a last minute bailout for Cyprus and growing concerns over political deadlock in Italy dampened investor confidence.
During early U.S. trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.63%, the S&P 500 index shed 0.58%, while the Nasdaq Composite index declined 0.61%.
Investors remained concerned that the bailout deal for Cyprus could set a precedent for future bailouts in larger euro zone states, with big bank depositors and senior bond holders forced to suffer losses.
Meanwhile, worries over a political stalemate in Italy mounted after a leading Italian politician cast doubt on prospects for forming a new government.
Sentiment weakened further following media reports that Pier Luigi Bersani, the head of Italy’s center-left alliance, ruled out forming a coalition government, saying that only an “insane person” would want to govern Italy.
Among tech stocks, Apple tumbled 1.08% aftet the iPhone-maker reportedly asked to proceed with a new trial on 14 Samsung Electronics products for which a U.S. judge overturned a jury patent-infringement award.
Separately, T-Mobile USA said Tuesday it will start selling Apple's iPhone on April 12, making it the last of the big national U.S. operators to sell the smartphone.
In the same sector, Ericsson was reportedly in talks to buy Microsoft’s IPTV business, which makes software used by phone companies to deliver television over the Internet. Microsoft shares were down 0.11% after the news.
Retailers were also in focus, as Wal-Mart Stores dropped 0.56% after saying in a regulatory filing on Tuesday that it is now "probable" it will incur losses relating to allegations that company representatives had bribed officials in Mexico to speed up expansion there.
The company also said it would start using stores to get Internet orders to shoppers faster, amid growing competition from online rivals such as Amazon.com.
Elsewhere, Cliffs iron-ore producer dove 11.81%%, as Morgan Stanley cut its recommendation on the company to "underweight" from "equal weight".
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were mixed to higher. The EURO STOXX 50 tumbled 1.65%, France’s CAC 40 plunged 1.64%, Germany's DAX declined 1.45%, while Britain's FTSE 100 retreated 0.70%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.69%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index added 0.18%.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to produce industry data in pending home sales and a government report on crude oil stockpiles.